A motion of no confidence has been posted on the Union’s notice board against Union President Charlie Mackintosh. The motion, posted this afternoon, is being brought on the grounds of “gross misconduct” and “shameful capitalisation of his office”.
The motion comes in light of The Oxford Union hosting an event featuring the Israeli Ambassador to the UK for the second time in a year. The event, which will take the form of a panel involving the Ambassadors to the UK of Israel, The UAE and Bahrain, will discuss the Abraham Accords today at 8pm.
The event is likely to prove controversial and students from the Arab Society, Palestinian Society, Syrian Society and Jewish Students For Justice have organised a protest this evening at 6.30 pm.
The Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, is known for her extreme views on Palestinians and Israel’s claim to the West Bank. Furthermore, this is the second time within the past year that Hotovely has been invited to the Union, after she gave a speech in Trinity 2022.
Last time she was invited, dozens protested the event. There was significant controversy after one student from the Oxford Students’ Palestinian Society was forcibly removed from in front of a gate by police and several others claimed they were racially profiled, manhandled and intimidated. Hamzah Mohomed, the proposer of the no confidence motion, was one of these individuals.
He alleges that in the previous event “Israeli security conspired to intimidate and harass members of colour and pro-Palestinian members, stifling debate and meaningful criticism of the Ambassador.”
“Mr Mackintosh facilitated a severe threat to the safety and privacy of Oxford Union members…These concerns represented an access and equality issue which was not properly acknowledged.”
Despite the Union standing by their policy of free speech and holding speakers accountable, Mr Mohomed believes that, “Mr Mackintosh did not adequately question Ms Hotovely in Trinity Term.”
“She was allowed to make a 30 minute address and no more than 5 questions were taken from the floor,” the motion reads. “The President, Mr Mackintosh has failed to uphold members’ expectations for freedom of speech and deliberately conspired with foreign agents to promote the interests of an apartheid state.”
Further to this, the no-confidence motion raises the concern of “members [being] notified less than 48 hours in advance” of the event. “This typifies the double standards between the Palestinian and Israeli ambassadors and has prevented any discussion about the motivation for these events, and the potential harm posed to members,” the no-confidence motion reads.
The Oxford Student spoke to a Union member who signed in support of the no confidence vote. They said it is “very irresponsible to be inviting speakers who are upholding a state sponsored genocide in Palesntine” and that “Charlie Mackintosh should be held accountable”.
As per the Society Rules, in order for an impeachment motion to be brought to a vote, 150 signatures must be collected in the next 48 hours. If the required number of signatures is reached within the time period, then a vote will be held four days later.
This story is breaking and there are more updates to follow.
Charlie Mackintosh and The Oxford Union have been contacted for comment.